Subscription 790/year or 190/quarter

A mirror image of the Cuba crisis 

Ola Tunander
Ola Tunander
Tunander is Professor Emeritus of PRIO. See also wikipedia, at PRIO: , as well as a bibliography on Waterstone
WEAPON SUPPORT / If the West gives more weapons to Ukraine, it only means that Russia's will continue to escalate the war. The consequence of the arms support is clear: It will not lead to Ukrainian victory, but to the destruction of Ukraine with hundreds of thousands of young Russians and Ukrainians killed.




(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke at a press conference in November about Russia's "imperial aggression" and "self-chosen war". His chief of defense, Mark Milley, echoed Austin's words, saying that Russia wants to conquer Ukraine, because Russia is "aggressive" and has never accepted Ukraine as an independent state.

President Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, describes the war as "an existential war", as a war to ensure Russia's survival as a state. For him, it is about a mirror image of the Cuba crisis, about preventing American forces from being able to be stationed in Ukraine close to Moscow – just as the United States in 1962 prevented Soviet forces and missiles from being based in Cuba. 

Putin has also stated that he had hoped that the 2014–15 Minsk Agreement would be implemented (it would have given Donetsk and Lugansk relative autonomy), but it turned out that Ukraine had never accepted the agreement. Former President Petro Poroshenko said in June 2022 that he signed the agreement because Ukraine had to buy time to build up its military strength, in order to recapture Donetsk-Luhansk. In March 2021, President Zelenskyj also decided to recapture Crimea. Kyiv had been bombing Donetsk-Lugansk for eight years. Up to 14 men and women had been killed, and now Ukraine was planning an offensive that would kill tens of thousands of Ukrainians in the area who spoke Russian. According to Putin, Russia had to intervene to protect the Russian-speaking population. 

Security

Austin and Milley's version is incompatible with Putin's. But are there objective criteria for determining who is right? We know that to conquer a country, but also to install a Quisling regime, an occupation is required – something Norway has also experienced. According to American military theory, such an occupation would require one soldier per 40-50 inhabitants. According to General Milley, Russia entered with 170–000 men, while an occupation would require at least a million Russian soldiers, a force five to six times that size. But experience says that Russia would have used a much larger force. When they occupied Czechoslovakia in 180, they went in with 000-1968 times as many soldiers per capita compared to Ukraine in 10. 

The Russian version appears more credible.

If Russia had wanted to occupy Ukraine, they would have gone in with a force almost ten times as large. We can thus say that Russia had neither the intention of conquering Ukraine nor of installing a Quisling regime. Naturally, Austin and Miller also know that. The Russian version appears more credible. Russia would guarantee the safety of Donetsk og Lugansk, securing Crimea and thus also the water resources of Crimea from Kherson, which the Kiev regime had cut off. They would probably also take Zaporizhzhya, the land connection between Crimea-Kherson and Donetsk. 

These Russian-speaking areas supported President Viktor Yanukovych in 2010. They then rebelled against the Kiev regime after the coup d'état against Yanukovych in February 2014. If the Russian forces' mission was to restore the security of the Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine, 170–000 men appear as a more reasonable strength.

But Russia also wanted to any price prevent Ukraine from being drawn into NATO and therefore becoming a bridgehead for US military power. Moscow also wanted to ensure that Ukraine's forces, and in particular the far-right "Bandera forces", were so weakened that they would not be able to attack Russia. And these requirements are absolute. If the war had been about territory, both sides would have been able to sit down and negotiate a border demarcation (and the more Western arms support, the stronger Ukraine would have been in the negotiations). 

Russia will continue the war until the West accepts the conditions for Russian security.

But this is a fallacy. For Russia, the war is not a self-chosen war, but an existential war. Russia will therefore continue the war until the West accepts the conditions for Russian security. Since 1949, such an acceptance has been the basis of Norwegian politics (base policy and nuclear policy) – but no longer does so. The US has moved its positions forward. If the West gives more weapons to Ukraine, it only means that Russia will continue to escalate the war. Kyiv will never be able to recapture Crimea or Donbass, as Russia will prevent it too any price. Russia will now deploy a much larger force and a massive bombing, similar to what the US usually starts its wars with – but which Russia would first avoid in order not to harm civilians. 

Western hubris

Norwegian politicians say that our arms support is intended to help Ukraine, but if Putin perceives the war as "existential", more weapons will only escalate the war and kill even more soldiers – Ukrainians as well as Russians. The consequence of the arms support is clear: It will not lead to Ukrainian victory, but to the destruction of Ukraine with hundreds of thousands of young men killed. The weapons of Ukraine will in practice become 'guillotines' to execute a generation of young Ukrainian men, but perhaps also thousands of Poles and Romanians who are also participating in the war. Ukraine has constantly tried to drag NATO directly into the war, and perhaps they will succeed in doing so. With the hubris we find in the West, we must expect that the war will escalate to Europe, while Russia is unlikely to be deterred by such a war. Perhaps both sides will use stronger weapons, perhaps nuclear weapons. 

Norwegian politicians have not seen the seriousness of this war. Russia will never let Donbass or Crimea fall.

- self-advertisement -

Recent Comments:

Siste artikler

An ideal peace agreement that ends the war once and for all

FRED: Three hundred years after Immanuel Kant was born, the Prussian philosopher's arguments for a rational, clear-sighted pacifism are more relevant than ever. Europe has recently become a place where the opposition between good and evil is routinely invoked to justify irresponsible brutality, and where the drums of war sound ever louder. Kant is known as the author of one of the most famous anti-war essays in the history of philosophy: The Eternal Peace. Kant's cosmopolitanism is based on man's original, common possession of the earth and implies a recognition of a 'right' to visit all places without being treated with hostility.

Where is the legal certainty?

COMMENT: Since 11 February 2023, Ilaria Salis has been imprisoned in Budapest for the attempted murder of two neo-Nazi militants. She pleads not guilty. The prosecution has requested 11 years in prison, 24 years if she does not confess. What about Hungary?

The cursed woman's language

SEXISM: When she died of cancer last year, aged 51, Michela Murgia had become a feminist icon in Italy. As a writer and playwright, she won high-profile awards in the 00s before she began to see writing as an instrument for activism. As a journalist and feminist, she truly understood the power of the symbiosis of sound and writing. Words matter, they can divide, and they can infect.

"Our culture consists of broken pieces of stone, but the sunlight of the present constantly falls on them, and therein lies hope."

POETRY: MODERN TIMES presents here Filipino Cirilo F. Bautista. He is an internationalist, influenced by European and American high modernism. For Bautista, there is no other way to understand contemporary Philippine politics than by retelling its history.

Feminist foreign policy – ​​theory and practice

FEMINISM: In Why the Future of Foreign Policy is Feminist, Kristina Lunz tries to give feminist foreign policy a concrete content. Sweden, Canada, Germany, France and Mexico have introduced their own feminist foreign policies. But there is no automatic link between increased female representation and improved conditions for women in general.

Shameless wealth of knowledge

JOURNAL: Are journals as part of the literary public at risk of being erased? The probing criticism, the one that dares to be independent literature, dares to be self-referential, introspective and self-implicating.

Was Dag Hammarskjöld gay?

MOVIE: Hammarskjöld's humour, drama, warmth, actionism, anger, irony, meetings with the press and youth, his spiritual and soulful musings form endlessly rich and fascinating possibilities that director Per Fly only exceptionally touches on in this new film.

Postcolonial and critical of power

HOLBERG PRIZE WINNER: Achille Mbembe's books all revolve around how the people in post-colonial states are kept down and marginalized. But also about how democracy today does not work because threats, violence and murder keep people away from the public sphere, from debates, from being able to say what you think for fear of losing your job, being put in prison or killed.

I was completely out of the world

Essay: The author Hanne Ramsdal tells here what it means to be put out of action – and come back again. A concussion leads, among other things, to the brain not being able to dampen impressions and emotions.

Silently disciplining research

PRIORITIES: Many who question the legitimacy of the US wars seem to be pressured by research and media institutions. An example here is the Institute for Peace Research (PRIO), which has had researchers who have historically been critical of any war of aggression – who have hardly belonged to the close friends of nuclear weapons.

Is Spain a terrorist state?

SPAIN: The country receives sharp international criticism for the police and the Civil Guard's extensive use of torture, which is never prosecuted. Regime rebels are imprisoned for trifles. European accusations and objections are ignored.

Is there any reason to rejoice over the coronary vaccine?

COVID-19: There is no real skepticism from the public sector about the coronary vaccine – vaccination is recommended, and the people are positive about the vaccine. But is the embrace of the vaccine based on an informed decision or a blind hope for a normal everyday life?

The military commanders wanted to annihilate the Soviet Union and China, but Kennedy stood in the way

Military: We focus on American Strategic Military Thinking (SAC) from 1950 to the present. Will the economic war be supplemented by a biological war?

homesickness

Bjørnboe: In this essay, Jens Bjørneboe's eldest daughter reflects on a lesser – known psychological side of her father.

Arrested and put on smooth cell for Y block

Y-Block: Five protesters were led away yesterday, including Ellen de Vibe, former director of the Oslo Planning and Building Agency. At the same time, the Y interior ended up in containers.

A forgiven, refined and anointed basket boy

Pliers: The financial industry takes control of the Norwegian public.

Michael Moore's new film: Critical to alternative energy

EnvironmentFor many, green energy solutions are just a new way to make money, says director Jeff Gibbs.

The pandemic will create a new world order

Mike Davis: According to activist and historian Mike Davis, wild reservoirs, like bats, contain up to 400 types of coronavirus that are just waiting to spread to other animals and humans.

The shaman and the Norwegian engineer

cohesion: The expectation of a paradise free of modern progress became the opposite, but most of all, Newtopia is about two very different men who support and help each other when life is at its most brutal.

Skinless exposure

Anorexia: shameless uses Lene Marie Fossen's own tortured body as a canvas for grief, pain and longing in her series of self portraits – relevant both in the documentary self Portrait and in the exhibition Gatekeeper.